EGU Award Ceremony (Credit: EGU/Foto Pfluegl)

Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Awards 2019 Alex Hughes

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European Geosciences Union

Alex Hughes

Alex Hughes
Alex Hughes

TS Tectonics and Structural Geology

The 2019 Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Award is awarded to Alex Hughes for the poster/PICO entitled:

A new quantitative approach in modelling regional tectonic processes and syn-depositional systems in coupled analogue-numerical models (Hughes, A.; Adam, J.; Burgess, P.)

Click here to download the poster/PICO file.

Alex Hughes is a final-year PhD student at Royal Holloway University of London. His research applies numerical stratigraphic forward modelling software to physical analogue sandbox experiments, permitting calculation of realistic sedimentary distributions to be added to the analogue model. When these are applied to the analogue surface the model tectonically responds in a more in-depth manner than current sedimentation methods are able to achieve.
The PICO presented at EGU 2019 outlines the process of integrating the two modelling approaches. 3D-stereo Digital Image Correlation (DIC) is capable of deriving the surface topography and subsidence field of the analogue experiment to act as a scaled input for the numerical modeller (CarboCAT). This is run with suitable production parameters for the desired time increment, producing the sedimentation volumes and distribution. A sieving device to deposit this incremental sediment volume onto the experiment surface is developed and tested, consisting of a cellular array of tubes allowing deposition of calculated material volumes onto the corresponding surface location. This apparatus is capable of repeatedly depositing heterogeneous sandpacks with locally controlled volumes and homogeneous mechanical properties. The integrated workflow has been tested in a series of static experiments with varying initial parameters for both the analogue and numerical modelling techniques. Model evolution is purely deterministic, producing diverse final architectures solely as a result of initial parameters and feedback between the analogue and numerical modelling.
The groundwork of this research may be applied in future to simulate complex, tectonically-controlled settings like segmented rift basins or passive margin sedimentary basins affected by gravity-driven deformation, as well as potential climatic impacts on basin evolution.